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Saying “No”

Photo by Michael Mroczek on Unsplash

Sometimes we struggle with telling people, “No.” We don’t want to seem selfish or ungodly. We don’t want to disappoint or upset people. But there are times when it is critical that we can give a firm, “No,” to people.

The goal is, we should be able to say, “Yes,” when it is appropriate and good for us to do so, and we should be able to say, “No,” when it is appropriate and good for us to do so.

If we always say, “Yes,” that is a problem. If we always say, “No,” that is also a problem. There should be balance so that we have godly discernment and can wisely determine when to say yes and when to say no. Ultimately, let’s always say yes to God and no to anything that is not of Him!

Let’s Be Honest about Our Yes and No:

Let’s mean yes when we say yes. Let’s mean no when we say no. It is not a good thing to say yes and resent other people because we feel like they should know we really didn’t want to do something. Let’s not expect others to read our minds – but answer in simple, straightforward, and vulnerable ways.

  • I like that.
  • I don’t want to do that.
  • I would prefer to do this, instead.
  • No, please stop!
  • Yes, I would love to do that.

How to Say No:

We can say, “No,” respectfully, gently, and clearly:

  • No, thank you.
  • I’m sorry, I can’t.
  • That is not going to work for me.
  • I’m going to have to say, “no.” But thanks so much for the offer!
  • That would go against God’s Word, so I am not able to participate.

I have found there are some really simple principles that make this much easier.

  • I don’t owe an explanation to people about why I say, “no.”
  • The more I try to explain myself, the more the person who is asking me for something will shoot down my reasons.
  • If they continue to press, I just continue to repeat myself respectfully, gently, but firmly. “I wish I could, but I just can’t right now.”

VERSES:

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. t teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. Titus 2:11-14

Let what you say be simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything more than this comes from evil. Matt. 5:37

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Cor. 10:13

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

Some times when “No” is appropriate:

  • Someone is asking you to clearly sin or go against God’s Word, even if that person is in a position of authority in your life.
  • When anything sinful is a temptation or anything that is clearly the invitation of the enemy.
  • When your sinful flesh is trying to convince you to do something.
  • If my husband is not on board with something someone else is asking me to do (in general – although there can be some exceptions).
  • If I would have to put this other thing above God, my husband, or my family.
  • When someone is clearly sinning against you – there are certainly times you may need to lovingly, humbly, respectfully confront them.
  • When something would violate your conscience may be a time to say no – after praying carefully about it and studying God’s Word.
  • When you are not actually able to do what the person has asked – either because of time restrictions, physical limitations, financial limitations, or other reasons.
  • When someone is asking you to do something you really don’t want to do. If a friend tries to pressure you to go skydiving, ride a roller coaster, or even go out to dinner – and you truly don’t want to go – there are times when it is wise to thank them for the offer but to kindly refuse. Of course, there may be exceptions to this. Sometimes you may not feel like going, but you may really enjoy yourself if you make yourself go. Or God may prompt you to go so you can be a blessing to someone. So – use wise discernment.
  • When saying, “Yes,” to this person would require you to say, “No,” to something more important. If your boss wants you to work on Sundays, but you really want to be able to go to church every Sunday, you may decide to decline the Sunday hours so that you can say, “Yes,” to being at church.
  • If you are going to resent the person if you say, “Yes,” there can be times it is better to decline. If someone asks you to watch their children 5 days per week for 3 hours per day for free, and you realize that this is an overcommitment for you and that you will feel bitter about it later – it can be better to respectfully decline the offer or to renegotiate so that you can give without resentment. Doing things for other people with resentment in our hearts is sin. We either need to be able to get rid of the resentment or we may need to be more careful about what we agree to do for others.
  • When saying, “Yes,” would end up filling up your schedule so much that you don’t have time for God.
  • When something would cause you to be a poor steward of your time, abilities, your health, your body, your walk with Christ, your soul, your finances, or God’s calling on your life. (Of course, sometimes God will call us to die to self – so this requires His wisdom and discernment.)
  • Someone is trying to hurt you or commit a crime against you. This requires a very firm, “No,” and you may need to literally fight to get away.
  • When you have prayed about something and you are very sure that this thing is not of God and is not God’s will in your life.
  • When something is a good thing, but is going to take too much time and isn’t in line with God’s assignment for you in that season. If the nominating committee at church asks you to work in the nursery, but you have a huge heart for teenage girls and you know that babies are not your gift – you may want to pray about the offer and then say that you would really prefer to work with the teenage girls. Sometimes, God may call us to do something that we are not as gifted to do – but many times God will use us in our area of giftedness. Just because someone asks you to do something doesn’t mean  you have to automatically say, “Yes,” Pray about it. Seek God’s will and wisdom. If you are hearing His voice clearly, follow His lead. If you cannot clearly hear God’s voice, let me know and we will talk about that together.

Some times when “Yes” is appropriate:

  • When you are saying, “Yes,” to God and to anything He has for you even if it is scary – whether His Spirit is prompting you or His Word is directing you. (If you are confused about whether God is speaking to you or not, please seek godly counsel.)
  • When you know that God has a particular ministry or task for you to do – even if you don’t feel like doing it.
  • When someone in a position of authority in your life asks you to do something that is not sinful – even if you don’t feel like doing it. If a police officer pulls you over – cooperate with him/her. Be respectful. Honor and obey what the officer asks you to do – unless the officer asks you to do something immoral, unethical, or illegal. If your boss asks you to do something that is not against God’s Word, honor your boss’s leadership. Of course, if you have concerns, you may respectfully share them in appropriate ways.
  • When you know an opportunity is from God.
  • When something would help you be a better steward of your life, your health, your body, your time, your finances, your soul, and God’s calling on your life.
  • When you want to do something and you are sure that you will not dishonor God by participating in that activity.
  • When this particular activity is clearly in line with God’s will and His priorities for your life.
  • When you believe God desires you to do something in order to pour His love and blessing into the lives of others and you are giving freely without strings attached and without resentment.

 

SHARE:

What have you learned about saying yes vs saying no? You are welcome to share!

 

RELATED:

The Snare of People Pleasing

Perfectionism

Let Your Yes Mean Yes and Your No Mean No

37 thoughts on “Saying “No”

  1. Thank you April, reading this was very freeing.

    I would love to hear more about hearing God’s voice. Based on some literature I read, that said “submit, believe, eat and breath everything your husband does” I feel like I went alone with some very life changing decisions, that have caused me to feel a lot of resentment towards my husband.

    1. L,

      Some literature about a wife’s submission to her husband seems to make the husband an idol – that everything is all about him and what he wants and that a wife has no voice or influence at all.

      Is that the kind of literature you may have read?

      I’d love to talk about these important things together.

      Would it be okay if I ask some questions to get a better spiritual pulse on where you are right now?

      Much love!

  2. Hi April,
    I really appreciate this post, especially this part:
    • I don’t owe an explanation to people about why I say, “no.”
    • The more I try to explain myself, the more the person who is asking me for something will shoot down my reasons.
    • If they continue to press, I just continue to repeat myself respectfully, gently, but firmly. “I wish I could, but I just can’t right now.”

    It is very important for us to have solid boundaries. I have learned the hard way that when someone tries to push me into going something that I don’t want to do, giving them an explanation just empowers them to keep trying to convince me to do it. The more I try to explain myself, the more aggressive and demanding they become. With pushy people, it is usually best to say No without an explanation or to not respond at all.

    For example, in my single days, many men with girlfriends or wives had approached me in an attempt to form a friendship and eventually tried to use that friendship to manipulate me into being their “other woman”. I have seen many of my friends get manipulated in this way and I was determined to not let it happen to me. Saying “I don’t get involved with men who have girlfriends/wives” over and over again has never proven to be enough to get them to back off. They always seemed to think that with the passage of time, I would soften my position and get more relaxed and they would be able to slowly manipulate me into an affair. The only thing that has worked with this type of men is if I state “I don’t get involved with men who have girlfriends/wives” once and subsequently stop responding to their phone calls, texts or messages. Only when I stop responding, they respected my position and left me in peace. In some cases, I actually blocked these men on Facebook, Whatsapp and my phone so they would have no way of contacting me.

    Similarly, I have a sister-in-law who is into new age practices and has a deep-seated satanic hatred of anyone or anything related to Christ. She spent years trying to hatefully push me away from Christianity and into new age beliefs. The harder I explained my devotion to Christ, the harder she fought to aggressively convince me to turn away from him. I eventually submitted to her pushy and demanding ways because I wasn’t strong enough to stand up to her. As a result, I actually turned by back on Christ for a period of 8 years and tried loads of new age practices. When I gave my life back to Christ, she re-started her hateful campaign to pull me away from Him. She started back her campaign of screaming at me angrily at the top of her lungs and aggressively demanding that I stop reading the Bible, going to church and choose to get involved in new age meditation instead. This time, I knew what to expect and was prepared to manage the situation. I handled it by not giving her any explanations at all. I knew that she would just use my explanations against me and to try to make fun of me and shoot down my reasons for choosing Christ. For example,

    – When she asked me questions about Jesus or the Bible, I would not respond at all. I would just stare at her silently with a blank look on my face.
    – When she preached to me about her new age philosophies or invited me to her meditation classes, I would also just stare at her silently with a blank look on my face.
    – When she tried to push me into reading new age books, I would just stare at the book silently with a blank look on my face and not touch it at all.

    Not giving her any explanations worked perfectly. She eventually gave up her campaign to turn me away from Christ. I have distanced myself from her considerably and it feels great to not have to live with that constant pressure of trying to defend and explain myself to her.

    I used to think that it was necessary to always be polite and respectfully explain to people why I don’t want to do things they asked me to do. I thought it was rude to not offer explanations. I have learned the hard way that my first priority must be to protect myself from being pushed or manipulated by others.

    As Christian women, we need to know how necessary it is to being able to say “No” and take measures to ensure that we would not be manipulated into sin or anything that is not God’s will for our lives.

    1. Nikki,

      Oh, goodness, my precious sister!

      This is exactly why we have to be able to say no to people and to things and ideas that are not of the Lord. Satan would LOVE to use other people to pressure us into sin and to drag us away from God. He is happy to speak to us through those closest to us, many times. If we don’t recognize the source of someone’s words – whether it is Life from God or death from Satan – we will receive things that are destructive to us.

      Yes, I agree that with men who are trying to pursue us inappropriately, explanations don’t help. In fact, our explanations can be a “challenge” to them to try to prove to themselves, and to us, that they can have us if they want to.

      We can simply speak a very firm no or not respond at all. That is wise.

      With someone who is an enemy of the Gospel and of Christ, we can seek to minister to them and to share the Gospel with them. But when it is obvious they are rejecting Jesus, there is a point where we must “shake the dust off our feet.” And we certainly can never afford to follow them into idolatry and false teaching.

      More explanations don’t open someone’s eyes who is spiritually dead. The Spirit of Christ is needed to open their eyes. Prayer is our most powerful weapon. We can love people with the love of Christ, but we do not subject ourselves to heresy, false religion, and someone trying to proselyte us.

      We can be polite and respectful. And we can be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. But we do NOT have to subject ourselves to someone’s demands and interrogations who is clearly anti-Christ.

      Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.

      Thank you so much for sharing!

      Praise God you have learned to stand against things God desires you to stand against!

      1. Hi April,
        Thanks for your response. You are always so insightful.

        I always wondered why men would ignore my explanations that I don’t get involved with men with girlfriends and continue calling me and pursuing me as if I hadn’t said ‘No’ at all. I never realized that they just saw my first ‘No’ as a exciting challenge to just work harder to manipulate me. Thanks for showing me that.

        Also, I shudder to think that I messed up my relationship with Christ for a good portion of my life mostly due to my efforts to be polite and respond to every question my sister-in-law asked me. I am really determined to not let it happen again. Those years without Christ were very sad. New age practices promise you the whole world, but in the end, they leave you empty, disappointed and lost.

        I’m so happy to be back with Christ! Coming back to him was the best decision I ever made. My life is still very challenging but with Him at my side, I feel so much better. I won’t let anyone pull me away from Him ever again!

        1. Nikki,

          There is no one and nothing that can satisfy our souls like Jesus can.

          I’m so thankful that you have learned these hard lessons and I’m excited to see how God will use you to help share this precious wisdom with younger women.

          Much love!

    2. Hi Nikki,
      I agree with you completely. I know many women who have gotten involved with married men just because of their desire to be polite and not hurt anyone’s feelings. When these men call, women often think it would be too rude to just ignore their phone calls so they politely answer the phone each and every time and slowly get manipulated into affairs. Then when they try to break off the relationship, these married men cry and act all sad and hurt and use guilt and sympathy to manipulate these women into staying with them. We women can save ourselves a lot of pain by just saying “No” once and then avoiding all subsequent contact with one of these men. There is simply too much at stake otherwise.

      1. Vanessa,

        Absolutely!!!

        I got entangled in an emotional attachment to a guy exactly because of this reason about 22 years ago. I was so afraid to be rude to him and to upset him. That is crazy thinking! It is appropriate to be completely unavailable to talk a guy who is coming on to us to try to get us to sin.

        We must guard our hearts, our purity, our relationship with the Lord, and our marriages.

        1. Hi April,

          I’m so sorry to hear about what you went through with that guy. Unfortunately, I had similar experiences when I was younger. My very first relationship was with a guy who I knew, pretty early on, wasn’t right for me. He was promiscuous, dishonest and manipulative. Although I noticed those things, it took me a long time to break up with him because I was terrified to disappoint him or hurt his feelings. I wanted to be kind and sensitive more than anything.

          When I eventually broke up with him, he revealed the extent of his dishonesty and infidelity towards me throughout the entire relationship and I ended up with deep emotional pain that took years to heal.

          If I hadn’t been so “polite” and just broken up with him when I noticed his negative qualities, I would have saved myself a lot of heartache.

          I learned the hard way that if a guy isn’t right for me, I need to break up with him and stick to my guns no matter how hurt and sad he seems or how hard he tries to change my mind. Not responding to his phone calls, texts or email messages is crucial. It may be rude but it’s an essential way to say ‘No’ and stick to it.

          1. Vanessa,

            These are such important things for young women to learn. We worry so much about hurting a guy’s feelings – more than we worry about offending God or destroying ourselves spiritually. Or, I know I was that way when I was younger, not realizing the price I was paying for trying to be a people pleaser.

            Would you be interested in allowing me to share a bit of your story on my site for single women, by chance? If you feel led?

            Much love!

            1. Hi April,
              You can definitely use this story in a post for single women. I believe that it’s an important message.

              Feel free to mention that there were times when Jesus didn’t respond to questions or give explanations for his actions (Isaiah 53:7 and Matthew 2: 2-5). That would be equivalent to a woman ignoring the phone calls or texts from an inappropriate man.

              Jesus advocated that we should sometimes “shake the dust off our feet”, which would be equivalent to a woman breaking up with a man who isn’t right for her.

              I’ve had so many friends stay with bad men out of guilt or a sense of responsibility for their feelings. If I can only spare one woman from the experience I had, I would be thrilled.

  3. Thanks so much for this article! I have a people pleasing nature and can get lost in relationships if I don’t stay aware of that tendency and act proactively. Your blogposts are such a blessing!

  4. Dear Peacefulwife,

    Another excellent post! This reminds me of that people pleasing post you wrote.

    Dear Lord, please help me to remember to say YES, to all Jesus offers and say NO when we need to…..

    Saying yes is seems make life easy in the instant but it can become a snare to capture the heart in the enemy’s net.

    Just a coffee with that nice coworker…… just a little cuddle…. that lasts too long…. and so it goes!

    No is just as Godly as yes!

    Always YES to Jesus!!!!

    JesusCentreofLife!

    1. Rose,

      I have some posts about that, if you are interested. But, yes, we do have the ability to say no to things that violate our conscience, that violate God’s Word, or that would cause us pain/injury. Of course, we would also want to seek to be available to our husbands as much as possible. We don’t want to have a general attitude of rejecting our husbands sexually. But there are certain situations where we may need to respectfully say no.

      Things like if a husband wanted his wife to:
      – watch porn with him
      – condone his sin
      – have a threesome
      – commit adultery
      – do something she felt very uncomfortable with (However, there are some wives who feel completely uncomfortable with any kind of sexual relations with their husbands, I would encourage wives in such a situation to seek appropriate counseling to help them find healing)
      – have sex when the husband is involved in active and unrepentant infidelity

      Check out the resources and links on this post.

      Much love!

  5. What to do? How do I end this? Same church. Same ministry. He told me he’s attracted to me. We are both are married. I am happily married. I have told this other person I have nothing to offer him. He says its fine, he just wants my friendship. That I make him happy. We text every day. About 6 months now. Although we have kept friendship pure and clean, its still not right as we keep it hidden from spouses and church. I am not attracted to him. I just enjoy his friendship. Every time I say we have to end friendship, he almost cries. He says give him time.

    He is very respectful but I still don’t feel right about this. I don’t want to give chance to enemy. I don’t want to change church nor abandon ministry. Neither he will. How do I end it? I have to be smart about it. I have told him like 20 times we must stop. He keeps texting. I keep answering. But I am not interested in nothing else. The good Lord help us before we get exposed somehow.

    1. Jaime,
      This is so dangerous!

      I vote to do whatever you need to do to break contact.

      Block him. Do not answer anymore.

      Ideally, let your husband know this guy is contacting you. Ask for his wisdom and help.

      If necessary, change churches.

      You cannot be close friends with a guy who is not your husband.

      I have some guidelines that may help that I can share if you would like.

      This is a big deal. I am so thankful you are reaching out for help now.

      Much love!

      1. Here are some posts that may be a blessing:

        Another Man Wants My Advice

        Is It Wise to Be Friends with Other Men?

        Jaime,

        Respect the Lord and His advice in Proverbs 3-5. Respect your husband and your marriage. Respect yourself. I know it is painful to know you are hurting this man’s feelings. But right now, his feelings are the least important issue. God’s feelings, your marriage, your husband’s feelings, and your walk with the Lord and witness are much more important.

        I became entangled in an infatuation myself with a guy about 21 years ago early in our marriage. I didn’t know how to guard my heart. Things never got beyond an emotional connection and talking – but it was still destructive. Satan would LOVE for us to play with things like this and walk close to the edge of the cliff, thinking we won’t fall. It is so easy to fall. And even if you never do anything inappropriate, it looks bad. So – even to just avoid the appearance of evil and to avoid being a stumbling block for your brother in Christ and his marriage and to avoid being a stumbling block to yourself and your husband, it is definitely way past time to completely extract yourself from this ASAP.

        Sometimes, it may even be necessary to talk to the head pastor or someone who is in a position of leadership authority – if you block him and cut contact and he still continues to try to contact you.

        Praying for you, my precious sister!

        Much love!

    2. Jaime,
      You are my sister in Christ and I really want the best for you. I don’t want you to spend another minute communicating with this man.

      Please, please, please end this friendship right now. Please block his number from your phone and block him on all social media platforms. Ignore all of his attempts to contact you. It doesn’t matter if he cries. His sorrow is sinful and his tears are inappropriate.

      The Bible says “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death” (2 Cor 7:10). His sorrow is worldly sorrow. His sorrow is related to his desire to maintain an inappropriate emotional entanglement to a married woman, while he is also married. His sorrow is related to something that can destroy two marriages and families, while also breaking God’s heart. God loves you too much to want you to open yourself up to this sinful friendship. God wants you to pull out of this now.

      Your concern for his feelings is also worldly sorrow. You don’t need to make him happy. Nothing in the Bible says that you need to make this man happy. Focus on making God happy by protecting your marriage and your heart. Focus on making your husband happy by avoiding any man who can tempt you emotionally. Focus on making your children happy by modeling complete and total fidelity and commitment to your marriage.

      Please embrace “godly sorrow” for allowing yourself to get wrapped up in this emotional entanglement.

      Please repent of allowing this friendship to develop and continue all these months.

      Cry out to God for the strength to cut this man out of your life entirely.

      Please don’t talk to this man even one more time. It’s not worth it. It’s better to cut him off entirely.

      Stop explaining yourself to him. You don’t owe him any explanations at all. Focus on what you owe your husband and your God – complete fidelity, honesty, commitment and your love.

    3. One more thing Jamie,

      You said that he is very respectful towards you but I disagree.

      He told you that he is attracted to you although he knows that you are married – That is not a respectful thing to say to a married woman. He is not respecting your marriage or your commitment to your husband.

      You told him 20 times that you need to stop communicating and he keeps doing it – He is not respecting that you don’t feel right about the friendship. His persistence after hearing the word “No” 20 times is incredibly disrespectful.

      By responding to his calls and texts, you are not respectful yourself enough either.

      You deserve the highest level of respect, dear sister. You are so special that Jesus laid down his life for you. That shows how wonderful and valuable you are.

      Start respecting yourself and your feelings today. Honor your feelings of discomfort about this friendship and just cut him off entirely without an explanation or apology.

      A few years ago I broke up with a boyfriend who wasn’t right for me at all. He was so filled with anger, bitterness and hatred towards his ex-wife that he had no room in his heart to love me at all. He actually admitted that he didn’t love me so I broke up with him right away.

      For four long months, he kept calling me, crying on the phone and acting all sad and hurt and begging me to spend time with him “just as friends”. It made me feel so guilty and depressed at first and I met with him a couple of times to just talk “as friends” and he just used that as opportunities to try to win me back.

      However, after a few months, I just felt angry and disrespected that he kept calling me and crying on the phone. I eventually developed the strength to just ignore his phone calls entirely. Shortly after that, he stopped calling me and I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted off my back. I felt so relieved and happy.

      Looking back, I wished that I had just cut him off from the beginning. Now I know better and that’s how I handle inappropriate men. I’m now married and have no close male friends at all and I don’t keep in touch with ex-boyfriends at all. I even block them when they try to contact me on Facebook just in case they are hoping to entangle me emotionally. It’s much better this way.

    4. Thank you ladies for your words of advice. Never would I see myself in this situation. I owe God so much, the last thing I want to do is fail Him yet still doing it. So embarrassing. His wonderful wife has full trust in me. I hate this situation, and yes I would be so happy without him. It has to be a trap of the enemy for me. Everyday I confess I will guard my heart. Everyday I turn over this situation to the Lord. I don’t want it. I have told him to turn his attention to his wife. We never talk about personal life to that degree so I don’t know if he is distant from her. Either way, it is not for me to deal with or try to fix.

      I am very happy with my husband. I don’t need nothing else. I have told him this, yet he remains. I have told him God is watching. He remains. I have told him we must serve God with clean hearts and mind. He remains. I made a mistake not to shut him completely. I am a very intelligent successful person, I shame my head that I failed here.

      1. Hi Jaime,
        I’m so glad you responded. I was really worried about you.

        I believe that you are a wonderful person with an extremely kind heart. This man is taking advantage of your kindness by crying and acting all emotional when you try to break off communication. He is not respecting your boundaries or your marriage and has left you with guilt, sorrow and shame. His behaviour is extremely disrespectful, horrible and cruel.

        You have given him good advice to focus on God, his wife and his marriage but he has not taken your advice. It is time for you to “shake the dust off your feet” (Matthew 10:14) and reject him entirely.

        You deserve friends who respect your boundaries and your marriage.

        I pray that you will develop and nurture friendships with sincere and respectful people and learn to identify and avoid snakes and ravenous wolves (Matthew 7:15).

        I pray that God will convict him of his sinfulness and lead him to repentance.

        God will bless you, my dear sister, for repenting and seeking to do his will.

      2. Jaime,

        In a situation like this, if you leave any kind of door open for a guy, he will stay right there, hoping for more from you. He wants you to commit sin with him. I agree with Nikki that he is being very disrespectful. Of God. Of your husband. Of you. And of his wife.

        You will have to firmly shut the door even if this man gets upset. You will have to choose to block him completely since he will not respect your no and your requests to leave you alone.

        It is painful to watch someone being in pain. It does hurt. But things will only get much worse for you and for him the longer this drags on. A very firm and final cutting him out of your personal life is necessary.

        And, it can be necessary to involve your husband or church leadership, if you do block him and he continues to attempt to reach out to you.

        Yes, this is a test. A trap. A snare from the enemy.

        Guarding your heart means getting completely away from a situation like this.

        I’m so glad you realize what is happening and that you want to fix it. You just haven’t been quite stern enough yet. But I know you can do it!

        Much love to you and a huge hug!
        I have been in similar situations. It is painful! I know you want to try to be as respectful of his feelings as possible – but that just isn’t possible at this point.

        You don’t have to sin against him or be hateful. But you can be extremely firm and refuse to engage at all anymore. No more responses. No more conversations on your end. And then, get others involved if necessary.

        Much love!

        1. Jaime,

          Interestingly, I was planning on doing a post and maybe a video on this very topic next week. Our single and married sisters need to know that setting very firm limits and cutting men (who are being inappropriate and inviting us into sin) out of our lives can be quite necessary – even if those men get upset, even if it is hard and painful.

        1. Yes I do!! I am praying for best solution and fast! I feel like this is a time bomb! I have reduced by 75% our texting in these two days. Trying to be smart about it. We basically work together. So we’re gonna see each other even if I end contact with him. I think this will be a gradual separation. He will get tired once he sees less and less of me. He’s a very good person. Probably has problems at home and put his eyes on me. But I am not looking for an affair that’s for sure. I will not be that type of tool for the enemy nor for him. He has a great ministry the enemy is trying to destroy. Thank you so much for your support and not judging me. I am not that type of person.

          1. Jaime,

            Are you both volunteers at church? Or are either of you on staff?

            This kind of thing can happen to any of us. It can be confusing to figure out what to do. But thankfully, things are not too far along yet in this situation.

            It is possible you could continue to work together in ministry – but there will be a lot of challenges. There are things you can do to separate yourself more and more and to provide accountability.

            You could let him know you will be including your husband on any communication from now on.
            You could refuse to meet with him in private or have any private conversations.
            If he will not honor these boundaries to guard your heart, your marriage, your ministry, his ministry, his heart, and his marriage – then it is time to use Matthew 18:15-17.

            I also would encourage you not to be very friendly and not to smile at him. Not that you need to be hateful. But he needs to know that this door is not open to him. At all.

            And if necessary, be willing to bring in your husband, a pastor who is over this man (or deacons/elders if he is the pastor), or be willing to speak to your husband about leaving if he will not respect your boundaries.

            Scripture admonishes us to flee from sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:18) and not to allow our lives to have even the appearance of evil. We are to treat people of the opposite sex at church with “absolute purity” (1 Tim. 5:2). And you are right, the enemy would LOVE to take him down and destroy his ministry and to use you to do it. He would jump at the chance to destroy your ministry, your witness, your marriage, your family, and the whole church through some kind of scandal.

            Our church is dealing with the aftermath of a terrible scandal right now. 🙁 It has impacted thousands of people. One small group youth leader’s inappropriate text messages with a boy have caused more heartache and pain than I could begin to describe. It is NOT worth it! And you are in a position to be able to stand against allowing this to happen in your marriage and your church as far as it depends on you.

            In my view, the less contact and communication, the better. And make it as business like as possible.

            Praying for you about how to begin to introduce accountability and when/if you may need to excuse yourself from ministry and when/if to let your husband and others know.

            I personally decided a number of years ago to be completely honest about anything that came up like this with Greg. So I confide in him and my prayer team if I notice a potential issue. That way it is not hidden. Satan loves for us to keep stuff like this hidden and for us to be isolated walking on the edge of a cliff.

            Much love to you!

          2. Hi Jamie,
            I’m glad you have reduced the texts. You really need to shut the door on this guy. It may be best to not work with him at all.

            If you are forced to work with him right now, respond to his messages about work in a purely business-like manner and ignore any messages that are personal. Even if he asks a simple personal question like “How are you?”, just ignore it. Don’t respond at all. If that would be too hard for you right now, try responding with a one-word answer like “Fine”.

            Another tactic may be to respond with praises of your husband like “I’m doing great! My wonderful husband took me out to dinner last night. I’m so happy to have him in my life. I can’t imagine a more amazing man!”.

            The best thing would be to tell your husband what is going on. He will help you to put an end to it.

            A co-worker of mine had a similar situation. He was married and a married woman who lived right next door starting texting him a lot. She made it very clear that she was attracted to him and wanted to have an affair with him. I counselled him to put an end to it. He dealt with it by responding to her texts with dull one-word answers like “Yes”, “No”, “Fine” or “OK”. Within a few weeks, she stopped contacting him and left him alone. Both he and his wife were relieved.

            Another co-worker of mine had a married neighbour who starting calling her a lot and making it really clear that he was attracted to her. I also counselled her to put a stop to it. She dealt with that by continually asking him questions about his wife like:
            “I love your wife’s hair. Who is her hairdresser?”
            “Your wife is so friendly. You are so lucky to have her in your life. Has she always been so sweet?”
            “Your wife has amazing style. Where does she shop?”
            After a while, that neighbour stopped calling her and she was relieved.

            You need to come up with a clear strategy to deal with this man before the “friendship” escalates and causes a lot of pain, heartache, humiliation and despair.

              1. Hi April,
                Feel free to use some or all of my ideas in your post to guide women in this matter.

                A lot of people think that only a “bad person” would commit adultery or get involved with a married man but it’s not like that at all.

                A very “good person” can commit adultery, especially if they are trying to be kind-hearted, caring and polite.

                I spent hours upon hours counselling the male co-worker I mentioned above. He was trying to be a polite and respectful by responding to that married woman’s texts each and every time. Since they were neighbors, he thought it would have been too rude to just ignore her texts or block her number from his phone. If I hadn’t counselled him, she may have been able to manipulate him into an affair and broken up two families.

                I also shared Proverbs 5 with him and that helped him to see exactly what that woman was trying to do and that’s why he started responding will dull one-word answers.

                My father committed adultery and that caused my family indescribable pain, heartache, depression and humiliation. The emotional and spiritual damage was crippling. I’ve been to more therapists than you can count because of it. I want to help other people to avoid going down that path.

                Because of the pain I experienced, I have no problem just ignoring or blocking men who behave inappropriately. It doesn’t seem rude to me and I honestly don’t care if it hurts their feelings. I only care about honouring God, my husband and my marriage.

              2. Nikki,

                Thank you very much for sharing this. And yes! All of us are susceptible to this sin, even if we are Christians. Even if we are strong Christians. The key is we must guard our hearts.

                I’m so thankful for the wisdom you have shared and for your willingness to allow me to share some of it, too. 🙂

              3. Hi April,
                I just thought of a good way for a married woman to respond to an inappropriate text from another man:

                “I showed my husband your text. We’re very disappointed that you would disrespect our marriage like that. Please don’t do that ever again.”

                What do you think?

Thanks for joining the discussion! Let's keep it classy and respectful. I'm so glad we can walk this road together.

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